Can You Freeze Prime Ribs? (Explained)

You must have had a big dinner if you were preparing a prime rib. This big chunk of meat is savory goodness that will have everyone licking their fingers. You can either serve it as the main dish or add it into several kinds of dishes on the side.

Sometimes, you just don’t know how much to cook but hey, better more than less! You are probably here because you don’t know what to do with the leftover rib from your dinner party. It is tough to throw away something you’ve put so much heart into, no?

Can you freeze prime rib?

Yes, you can. Prime rib is the one best food you can store in the freezer; it freezes like a dream! You can freeze your prime rib leftover without worrying it might go bad. Prime rib can stay good in the freezer for up to 4 to 6 months, provided you’ve followed the steps to freezing correctly. So, you can thaw and reheat it whenever you want for quite a long time.

Now that you know you can freeze a prime rib, you’re probably on a mission to find out exactly how to do it. Don’t worry because we are here to help you with that as well! Continue reading the article for your guide to freezing and thawing prime rib. 

How to Freeze Prime Rib

Freezing is the way to go if you want your prime rib to stay fresh for as long as possible. And of course, it is great to know you have a delicious piece of meat at hand. While the procedure is simple, it is still important to know how to properly freeze your prime rib. Let us walk you through it step-by-step:

Step 1: The first step is to allow your prime rib to fully cool down. Ensure that it has come down to room temperature before packing it. Please remember to finish this cooling process within 2 hours to protect your meat from bacteria or other factors. 

Step 2: Now, separate the meat into small portions. It is better to separate them into smaller quantities before packing and freezing the rib. This helps you only thaw the portion you require for a particular meal instead of thawing a larger portion. Dividing them into small portions also helps it freeze better and reduces the chances of any freezer burns.

Step 3: Next step is to tightly secure the portions of rib in freezer paper. You can also add a layer of plastic wrap as an extra precaution. 

Step 4: Take the pieces of packed prime rib and place them either in an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bags. 

Step 5: Your rib is ready for the freezer! We recommend you labeling the meat and note the date of freezing down on the container. This will help you see how long your meat has been sitting in the freezer. Cooked prime roast stays fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months.

On the other hand, if you want to freeze a prime rib before you have cooked it, you can skip the first step and follow the same procedure. Uncooked prime rib stays good in the freezer for up to 12 months.   

Recommended reading of other Freezing FAQs:

How to Thaw Prime Rib

Defrosting prime rib is another important aspect. You must know how to properly thaw the rib, so it doesn’t end up drying out and becoming too tough. It needs to be thawed just right for you to have it moist, tender, and delicious! Proper defrosting will also reduce the risk of your meat getting contaminated before it fully thaws. Lucky for you, there are quite a few ways to do this. We’ve listed them all out for your down below:

Thawing Prime Rib in the Refrigerator

Keeping the meat cold even during its transfer from the freezer will help you cook it uniformly. To ensure this, you can either let it sit in the refrigerator until it thaws. One way you can speed this process up is by placing it between two layers of plastic wrap in the refrigerator.

Allow the cheese to thaw overnight until you’re ready to use it. The duration to thaw prime rib in the refrigerator also depends on how thick the meat is on your prime rib. It might be a little time-taking to defrost the meat in the fridge, but it is also the safest way.

You’d be reducing the risk of bacterial growth greatly as colder temperatures are not very suitable for them. So, thawing prime rib in the fridge can take about 12-48 hours depending on the size, density, or type of cut of your meat as well. 

Thawing Prime Ribs Naturally

Naturally thawing your prime rib just means leaving it out on the counter. We recommend this not be your first choice. This is because when the meat reaches a temperature where its surface is warm, there could be a deteriorating effect.

It typically takes about 4 to 6 hours for prime rib to thaw completely on the kitchen countertop. Please keep an eye out for any mold formation. As long as your meat stays clear of that, you can consume it within 2 to 3 days of thawing.

Thawing Prime Ribs in Cold Water

Interestingly, thawing meat in cold water is a faster process than warm water thawing. This, of course, is provided that the temperature of the water is optimum and not too cold. It is not advised to use warm water to defrost prime rib is also increases the risk of food poisoning. So, it is best to stick with cold water thawing.

Placing the meat in a bowl filled with cold water will only take about 4 hours. In these situations, cold water is better than warm because it is easier on the meat and also less favorable for bacterial growth. 

Make sure you have secured the meat tightly into a plastic bag before submerging it in the bowl of cold water. We also recommend you change the water everything 30 minutes until the prime rib is fully defrosted. The duration of thawing prime rib in cold water depends on the portion and other factors. Typically, this process should take about a couple of hours.

Thawing it in a Microwave:

Placing it in the rib in the microwave is another technique you can try. Please keep the packaging in mind before popping it in the freezer. A pound of prime rib may take up to 10 minutes to defrost in the microwave.

Keep checking on it in regular intervals to ensure you’re keeping it in only for the appropriate time. Please don’t forget to let it rest for about 5 minutes once you’ve gotten it out of the microwave.

If you’re in a hurry and need the prime rib defrosted as soon as possible, the microwave is definitely the way to go. This again comes with a slight downside. Abruptly applying that much heat to the rib to defrost will affect its texture and taste. It will still be as delicious as always, but the meat might get a little tougher and dry.

And of course, this method requires more attention as well. You must ensure that the meat doesn’t start to cook. So, unless you’re in a real fix, try to employ other methods of defrosting prime rib.

Recommended reading of other Freezing FAQs:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you freeze cooked prime rib?

Yes, you can freeze cooked prime rib. It is natural to have leftovers from big dinner parties or festivals. Cooked prime rib freezes very well. You can go ahead and freeze it to use it in a variety of dishes later on. You can freeze cooked prime rib for up to 4-6 months.

Can you freeze cooked prime rib roast?

Yes, you can freeze prime rib roast. If you have prime rib leftovers from a meal, you can go ahead and pop it in the freezer. Prime rib is ideal meat for the freezer. All you need to make sure of is that you have packed it properly before storing it in the freezer. 

Can you freeze cooked prime rib slices?

Yes, you can freeze cooked rib slices. In fact, freezing cooked prime rib slices is a better idea than storing it as a whole. Meat freezes better when it is cut into smaller portions and reduces its risk of suffering freezer burns. 

Can you freeze fresh prime rib?

Yes, you can freeze fresh prime rib. Yes, you can freeze fresh prime rib, both cooked and uncooked. You can thaw and cook it whenever you want for several months after freezing. Cooked prime rib stays good in the freezer for about 4-6 months whereas uncooked prime lasts for up to 12 months. 

Can you freeze whole prime rib?

Yes, you can freeze whole prime rib. As long as you pack it properly, whole prime rib should last long in the freezer too. However, we recommend you dive the rib into small portions before freezing it. This way, you don’t have to thaw the whole rib if you are only planning to use a part of it. Smaller portions of meat also last better in the freezer.

Can you freeze prime rib raw?

Yes, you can freeze prime rib raw. Freezing prime rib raw lasts a lot longer in the freezer. The procedure for freezing raw prime rib is the same as the one given above. Of course, the first step that involves bringing it to room temperature doesn’t apply here. 

Can you freeze prime rib prior to cooking?

Yes, you can freeze prime rib prior to cooking it. If you wish to portion a part of the prime rib before cooking it, that’s even better! Uncooked prime rib stays good in the freezer for a longer duration than cooked one. You comfortably freeze the rib in your freezer for up to 12 months.


We have finally reached the end of this post! We hope this article helped figure out what to do with your prime rib leftovers. It is just great how well prime rib freezes.

You can store it in your freezer for the future to use in a variety of dishes. It is also extremely tasty and on the pricier end too. Now that you know it freezes like a dream, you can go ahead and save it for more rich dinners. 

You can freeze both, cooked prime rib and uncooked. Both kinds have quite a long shelf life in the freezer. This tender, juicy, cut is enough to impress all your friends and family for dinner; especially when it is at your fingertips to have it ready whenever you want!

Happy dining!